Last week we aerated our bentgrass approaches. We first used our verticuter units which attach to a tri-plex(3 wheeled) mower which we use on tee and greens. The purpose of the verticutting unit is to cut down into the upper canopy of the turf(thatch) and help remove some of the spongy material that builds up in this area. Thatch consists of living and dead root and leaf tissue. The bentgrass by its very nature would like to lay or bend over to the side so we have to encourage it to stand up straight. The verticutting lines were then filled with sand which is explained later in this post. We used our Verti-Drain deep tined aerator with a 1/2" coring tine and pulled cores. Russ is operating our largest tractor which must be used to handle this unit. 16 approach is not the easiest place for this type of work.
Skip is picking up the cores with a snow shovel.
Once the cores were picked up, the crew applied a heavy layer of sand to topdress the approaches. The sand was brushed in the holes with brooms. The brushing action also helped the turf stand straight up which allowed for a tight cut by our walking approach mower. As a topdressing, the sand also was worked into the grooves left by the verticutting unit and will help in smoothing the approaches.
Our overall goal for this work is to improve the health of the approaches so they may survive the wear and tear from equipment, play, and the stress of our summer weather. We also want to improve the firmness of the approaches so a ball will have a better opportunity to release toward the green and the hole instead of hitting softly and stopping.